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Thread: Profoto D1/B1 glass domes

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    Question Profoto D1/B1 glass domes

    I'm struggling to notice any improvements to the quality of light from my new B1's with and without the domes (with soft lights).

    Not particularly impressed in how they attach and adds quite a lot of bulk to the light. The standard flat glass gives 77° (i think) so not exactly a spot light.

    What modifiers are people using (Magnum/Zoom reflectors?) that they feel the light needs the dome in place to give best results and any example shots showing improvements?

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    Re: Profoto D1/B1 glass domes

    I think when you get into this rarified level of lighting, it is all in the subtitles.

    I do not think these D1/B1 domes are as effective as the ones on their other heads. However, they still help distribute the light off to the sides when inside a modifier ... probably the larger the modifier, the more apparent that would be. Many of the modifiers have been designed for use with glass domes, so it stands to reason these would do the same.

    Remember, you can slide a modifier back and forth on the strobe body to alter the angle of coverage.

    - Marc

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    Re: Profoto D1/B1 glass domes

    Hi Marc, what modifiers do use that you feel the dome improves the light quality?

    I shoot a lot of interiors and use mainly soft lights, brollies or bare bulb and am thinking of adding a Magnum for a bit of artificial sunlight but unsure if the domes are essential or not with that modifier. The only modifier I know of that people say the dome is a must is with the beauty dish but that's not a reflector I imagine any architectural shooter uses.

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    Re: Profoto D1/B1 glass domes

    Quote Originally Posted by gazwas View Post
    Hi Marc, what modifiers do use that you feel the dome improves the light quality?

    I shoot a lot of interiors and use mainly soft lights, brollies or bare bulb and am thinking of adding a Magnum for a bit of artificial sunlight but unsure if the domes are essential or not with that modifier. The only modifier I know of that people say the dome is a must is with the beauty dish but that's not a reflector I imagine any architectural shooter uses.
    Well, I have collected a huge array of modifiers over the years ... where I would get something for a specific type job and eventually pay for it through "lighting package rental" line items on commercial jobs. Now I have to much

    I think the glass domes help when using most light shaping modifiers ... and especially any "Lantern" style, or Profoto Globe ... I have two different globes one more diffused than the other ... I used those boomed up high to more evenly light a room over-all. Obviously inside a globe works better with glass domes on the head to better distribute the light.

    I think the flat glass works fine when using a conventional umbrella, ... however, that may depend on the size and distance the face of the D1 from the open umbrella because it is a fixed 77º and harder to control unless you use an additional "Spill Kill" modifier ... I have a few very large parabolics that benefit from domes because I can reduce the distance the umbrella is from the head to keep the umbrella shaft from bending while maintaining even distribution to the sides.

    I don't really have the time right now, but an interesting test would be to put a Magnum on a D1/B1 with and without dome and do light meter readings at a fixed distance while sliding the modifer to different points on the strobe since the idea of the Magnum is to intensify the output ... which it most certainly does. I found a similar Magnum effect from using the Rotalux Deep Octas on these heads.

    I have done other tests with a large Profoto Octa with just the outer diffuser installed and did meter readings from center to edge, and the domes showed less drop off ... which is why I have the opinion that mods are designed for domed heads ... light thrown to the sides of the reflective material which is shaped to then throw it forward to avoid center hot spots.

    As I mentioned, I do really like the flat glass when coupled with the D1 slip on grids which you cannot use with a domed head. Much easier to sneak into a table-top set for more precise light placement ... or to accent some detail in other type shots.

    I just noticed that the D1/B1 glass domes and flat glass now come in color temp versions ... I may order a few -600K domes.

    - Marc

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    Re: Profoto D1/B1 glass domes

    Gazwas-

    For a wider spread the Wide Zoom might suffice. I would agree that the Rotalux is probably going to throw more directional light, then an umbrella. However, adding spill kill modifiers and domes adds to the weight, which is already quite heavy, especially on a boom. Domes on D1's, imo, are pointless because the flash tube itself is still recessed inside, you're not getting the full 360 degree "throw". You might benefit slightly if the light is placed rather close to your subject. If you're using the B1 to light specific areas to enhance as opposed to a key, then snoots, and grids are effective at directing the light more effectively.
    Last edited by johnnygoesdigital; 12th December 2013 at 10:47.

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    Re: Profoto D1/B1 glass domes

    Hi !
    I just did a test today. Profoto lend me 2 B1 for testing in different conditions than "extreme" and "sport", in other ways : for quite portraits on location.

    I did this comparison :
    B1 and Acute B at the same power (+ - 250Ws) @2metres from the background, with the new zoom and a 5° honey grid, position #6 (from 4 to 8). Camera settings where 1/200 f8 iso50 on a H3D.

    The B1 gives f7.1
    The Acute gives f10

    Without the new zoom (bare bulb), it gives f8 for both.

    You can notice the blue cast on the B1. It was not set to Freeze mode but Normal.

    Left B1, Right Acute B


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    Re: Profoto D1/B1 glass domes

    Thanks for the photo comparison.

    I'm assuming the B1 had the dome. I actually like the falloff with the grid on the B1 better. The blueish cast is interesting though. Almost seems like a WB issue.

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    Re: Profoto D1/B1 glass domes

    It was without the dome.

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    Re: Profoto D1/B1 glass domes

    Thanks...makes sense

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    Re: Profoto D1/B1 glass domes

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I
    I do not think these D1/B1 domes are as effective as the ones on their other heads. However, they still help distribute the light off to the sides when inside a modifier ... probably the larger the modifier, the more apparent that would be.
    This is exactly my experience. On a PF softlight there's little difference largely due to the opaque counter reflector in the center of the modifier. On a Mola Demi (approximately the same size modifier) the dome makes a significant difference with either the Opal or PAD. The Mola is at least .75 stops more even edge to edge.

    Go up to the Mola Euro and the difference is much more noticeable and measurable.

    Use the dome with a 5' Octa and it's again more even and now the gradation to the edges makes the modifier a more tunable light source that you can easily feather.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnygoesdigital View Post
    ... Domes on D1's, imo, are pointless because the flash tube itself is still recessed inside, you're not getting the full 360 degree "throw". You might benefit slightly if the light is placed rather close to your subject.
    I have D1s, Pro 7, Acute, Acute twin tube heads and PF Compacts. Each have varying length tubes and domes. Each distribute light differently.

    The D1 with the flat diffuser is the most directional. One would expect so as the modifier is built in to create that pattern. Adding the dome makes it much less so and with moderate to larger modifiers the light becomes comparable to an Acute head or a PF compact.

    The Pro 7 tube and dome are shorter than an Acute's or PF compacts but the light is more evenly distributed than a D1 with a dome.

    The Acute twin tube head's dome and tubes are longer than any of the other heads and the light is significantly more even when used with any modifier that has front diffusion.

    I bought domes for my D1s, installed them and have never taken them off. They make the D1 much more interchangeable with the other PF heads which is particularly useful when you want a short duration at full power. The PF Compacts and standard Acute heads/packs can't give me that.

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    Re: Profoto D1/B1 glass domes

    As the owner of D1s, Compacts and Acutes, my experiences would mimic Kirk's. A D1 w/dome is better than one w/o (for light distribution), but it's not as good as an Acute or Compact. Agree with comments also re: Mola, PF dishes and larger softboxes.

    As with Kirk, my D1s had the domes installed since Day 1.

    Also, the D1s are remarkably tough. I had a well meaning helper remove the sandbags from a rolling stand BEFORE removing the D1 extended via an arm from the top of same. Well, the whole enchilada, D1 first, headed for the concrete floor from a height of maybe 7'. The D1 hit dome first.

    Glass everywhere and small boo-boo on one spot of the plastic lip of the D1 - but lamp still worked as new. Damn near floored me. Never a hiccup. New dome ordered, done. Had that been an Acute/Pro/Compact with an exposed tube, I'd be looking at a new $$$ tube. The Acute may not have gone for a re-entry given it's much lighter weight, but who knows.

    I don't LOVE my D1s like I do my other Profoto lamps or older Compacts monos (simple, reliable, meat locker-esque tech), but I'm glad I have them and they went up a notch on the respect meter after that last episode.
    Last edited by robmac; 28th December 2013 at 08:49.
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    Re: Profoto D1/B1 glass domes

    I popped for D1s shortly after they were announced, and over time have come to feel equally confident about them as any of my other PF gear ... but letting go on those Compacts wasn't easy, so I know what you mean

    Ideally, since scaling back the commercial work, I'd love to add a couple of B1s and unload some Elenchrom mobile stuff I've collected over the years. Probably don't need two PF D4-2400R boxes anymore either.

    I'd like to get it all under the AIR system (which includes the Hensel Porty I have) and leave it at that.

    - Marc

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    Re: Profoto D1/B1 glass domes

    My experience with Profoto has mostly been on location in remote settings. Battery power is a must so my comparisons are generally based in those situations. Earlier options included shooting with a Hensel Porty lithium 1200, D1's and a Paul Buff vagabond mini, then just a PB E640 and VB mini, and finally an AcuteB Air600. From that, I think the Hensel has the most robust, weather resistant unit available for my style of shooting. The Air remote is simply the best, but the modifier attachment is similar to the Balcar style and that won't do for windy conditions. The PB E640 was very reliable, but hated the location for the Pocket Wizard. Finally, the AcuteB Air was small, and compact, but not as weather resistant. I'm not a fan of the B1's styling either, but the lack of cables most certainly appeals to me. The recessed dome might actually have it's advantages, as in robmac's situation.

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    Re: Profoto D1/B1 glass domes

    I bought my first dome for my D1s last year and I saw an improvement, but after a while I decided to buy an Acute on ebay. Once it arrived I tested the three types of head side by side with a silver beauty dish / softlight and realized that the better the dome the better the contrast and light output. My Elinchrom deep octa looked better with the dome too.



    Then I burnt up the Acute on a shoot so I decided to replace it with a Pro-6 and pro-7 head. This week I tested the three of them in 4 different modifiers (below) and found that there was a significant difference in models with only one baffle (Plume and Chimera) and less significant difference when using 5' Octa which has two baffles.









    Here's a link to my full review with more samples, what happened to my Acute and color balance info: http://johngress.com/?p=15555
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    Re: Profoto D1/B1 glass domes

    Interesting read. For what it's worth, I bought a D4 Air generator (1200WS) recently, plus 2 Acute D4 heads on ebay recently; for about 1/2 of the list price. So far no problems with overheating (the fans in the heads are a bit noisy but that's ok) and they recycle very fast. Also took delivery last week of a D2 1000WS monobloc; recycles really super fast but haven't used it enough yet to comment on heat resistance. I use the dome with it also, even though I think it makes little difference in modifiers with two baffles.

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    Re: Profoto D1/B1 glass domes

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnGress View Post


    Looking at this image of the D1 with the dome attached brings back memories and reminded me of of why I disliked my B1's and the reason why I ultimately sold all mine. I was never impressed with how the domes attached but found it a pain to keep putting the standard flat cover glass back in place so I used the Pro Head transport caps for packing away and it made the B1 even more of a pain to travel with. They didn't even fit into the B1 bags they ship with due to the added length. Weird design choice IMO....... (however, it hasn't stopped them selling?)

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    Re: Profoto D1/B1 glass domes

    Profoto D1/B1 are longer and skinnier than most mono-heads for a reason ... the long adjustment space up front allows different light modification with any given reflector by sliding it front to rear. Besides the secure reliability factor, it is one of the advantages of the PF mount.

    I do not think the domes are quite as good as the PF pack heads (or older Compact monos), but it makes up for it in diversity such as the small grids application I mentioned previously. I've not have any real world issues using the flat glass with umbrellas.

    Now that PF has launched the Profoto AIR Remote TTL-S, my Sony A7R-II will come into play more with the B1 and B2 lights. HSS at 1/8000 with some fast Zeiss FE and Leica M glass wide open should be fun.

    - Marc
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